Under-pressure Stoke City boss Mark Hughes admits Saturday’s Premier League home clash with West Brom is a “huge game” for his bottom-of-the-table side.
The Potters have endured a wretched start to the campaign and sit at the very foot of the standings with just one point from their first five games of the season.
They have suffered four consecutive defeats in the league and have conceded four goals in three of those games.
Stoke chairman Peter Coates told talkSPORT this week that the club will stick by Hughes despite their poor start, calling reports he is close to the sack ‘ridiculous’.
But their season went from bad to worse on Wednesday as they were knocked out of the EFL Cup with a 2-1 loss to Hull City.
And Hughes is hoping his side will bounce back by recording their first win of the season against the Baggies this weekend.
“We have all been in football a long time, both as players and myself as a manager as well, and it is these periods where you just have to ride it out and turn the corner.
“At the moment it seems that whenever the opposition get an opportunity to score, that is what is happening, so we need to change that around. You do that by doing the right things and making an impact on games you are involved in.
“So that is what we’ll try to do at the weekend. It is a big game, a huge game for us, because the longer it goes on without our first league win, then the more significant each game becomes.
“At the weekend we’ll attempt to get our first win on the board. We have the potential and ability – there is no reason why we can’t start our season at the weekend.”
Hughes admitted the feeling in the dressing room after the cup tie had been disappointment mixed with confusion given Stoke had lost a game in which they were “totally dominant”.
The Welshman was also eager to stress there could be encouragement taken from the performance, and singled out teenage winger Ramadan Sobhi for praise.
The 19-year-old Egypt international, signed from Al Ahly over the summer, caught the eye on what was his first start for Stoke.
And Hughes said: “I thought Ramadan Sobhi came in and was excellent.
“He showed a lot of potential and the ability he has, and that will come to the fore in the coming years, so we are pleased for him.”